Monday, August 24, 2009
Dear Mr/Ms Boycott Scotland
After hearing of your site through various news sources, I found myself reading it today with a mix of sadness and confusion.
I've always been a fan of the USA and have enjoyed several visits to your country. I enjoy many aspects of your culture, and I admire the 'can do' attitude many Americans have.
Links between our countries run deep. Right back to the very formation of your nation. I remember learning about John Paul Jones, and being fascinated and proud that a Scot should be credited as the father of the world's most powerful navy.
It seems you now wish to sever these ties. Indeed you would revert to the opposite end of the spectrum with a declaration of some sort of trade war against the United Kingdom in general, and Scotland in particular - and all over the release of one dying man.
A sad and strange decision, but one you are entitled to make. For that is what democracy and freedom is about.
Of course, following this decision through to it's logical conclusion - as you surely must - there are several other steps you will now wish to take.
You can write to the UK Prime Minister and Defence Secretary to tell them the USA no longer needs the support of the 9,000 UK troops currently fighting in Afghanistan.
You can write to the commanders of the two Scottish battalions currently training for their next deployment in Afghanistan - over 1000 Scots - to tell them their services are no longer required.
You can write to the friends and families of the 179 British personnel who died in Iraq to tell them why their sacrifice counts less than the release of one dying man.
You can write to the friends and families of the 206 British personnel who have died so far in Afghanistan to tell them why their sacrifice counts less than the release of one dying man.
You can visit Scotland and the wider UK, and seek out the troops who have suffered horrific injuries. Legs and arms blown off, terrible burns, and other traumas, to tell them why their sacrifice counts less than the release of one dying man.
Once you have done all that, feel free to resume your boycott of haggis, kilts, whisky, and travel to Scotland or the UK.
It won't put me off visiting the USA or my American friends. Indeed plans for my next trip are already underway.
I've stood on the edge of the Hoover Dam and wondered at the ingenuity and endeavour that produced it. I've ascended the Empire State Building and marvelled at the cityscape. I've travelled down the Pacific highways and across the Golden Gate; basked in the hospitality of cosmopolitan San Francisco; played poker in Las Vegas; been below deck on the USS Constitution in Boston; watched The Cubbies win at Wrigley Field, and still I'll come back for more.
Because friends, and allies, see the bigger picture. They respect the differences in the cultures and legal systems of their comrades, and work with them in partnership for the greater common good.
Friends may often disagree, but they often agree to differ. That is a lesson you may wish to reflect upon.